Jeroen Blok, It’s no use going back to tomorrow; Twelve twelve gallery, The Hague

Artists deal with reality and they add to it.

They have to, in spite of what some people may think.

Reality is the artist’s bread and butter and Jeroen Blok (1976), who is presently showing his work in Twelve twelve gallery, seems to acknowledge that.

He approaches it with techniques as different as painting, photography and collage.

He uses more layers in his works, either to add to reality or to peel it.

In some of his works you may think of surrealism.

But then, isn’t surrealism an extra reality that is both additive and reflective?

Whatever, i think Jeroen Blok’s work is both.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Jeroen Blok and Twelve twelve gallery, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters

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Simon Schrikker, Dark mountains – Seeing things; Livingstone gallery, The Hague

Painter Simon Schrikker (1973) shows new works in his present exhibition at Livingstone Gallery.

His dogs, once a bit scary and unpredictable, have been tamed by now and have become painterly constructions.

Octopi and sharks still haunt his paintings but he has also been concentrating on the world where these creatures come from: the sea.

Seascapes and mountains have become Schrikker’s play field to find a balance between the subject and paint itself.

You may find parts of the ocean in or around the corner,

while the idea of wild surf and rocks has even made sculpture out of paint.

Quite recent are his water colours with mountains, in which Schrikker mixes the awesome sublimity of the subject with the abstract calligraphy of his material.

In fact Schrikker is constantly trying to bend the sublime of his subjects towards the abstraction of painting.

He also does so by combining his subjects in collages and in video.

In that way Schrikker is challenging the idea of the sublime and the expression of it.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photograph courtesy to Simon Schrikker and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag.

Bertus Pierters

Jürgen Brodwolf, Malerhimmel (Painters’ Heaven); Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Jürgen Brodwolf (1932) – immediately recognizable as an artist of his generation – is famous for his Tubenfigure (tube figures), based on squeezed out paint tubes.

In his work they have become a metaphor for the basic human figure, as part of the collective unconscious, but also becoming a metaphor for creation, its material and its inspiration.

Livingstone Gallery presently has a small exhibition of his work, which is a very interesting introduction.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Jürgen Brodwolf and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag

 

Bertus Pieters

Façades of The Hague #58

Glass panelled façade, Casuariestraat.

Originally built in the 1980s, the building soon became uninteresting and obsolete.

In 2011 it was restored by Fokkema Architects and the glass panels were added giving the building a fresh, new start.

The glass panels reflect the Ministry of Finance.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

All pictures were made in March 2017.

 

Bertus Pieters

Peter Feiler, Früchte der Dekadenz (Fruits of Decadence); Hoorn & Reniers, The Hague

Peter Feiler’s (1981) present show at Hoorn & Reniers isn’t for the faint hearted, but then life itself isn’t for the faint hearted either.

In our age of consumerism a curtain of fun and efficiency hides a world of control and power struggle, relentless, fanatic, cruel and both mediagenic and secretive.

It is a kind of merry-go-round no one of us seems to be able to quit from.

Feiler’s works may remind you of Jheronimus Bosch’s demonic paintings.

In Bosch’s works redemption seems hardly possible for humanity.

Both Bosch and Feiler show a fully corrupted society whose evil can hardly be avoided.

In Bosch’s late Gothic society all-pervasive, corrupt religious and worldly powers brought a new Renaissance world of new knowledge but also of new and more relentless ways of war and cruelty.

However Bosch always implicitly shows that there is an alternative.

In Feiler’s works that is not quite so sure.

Bosch shows you how not to behave, while Feiler just shows his visions and leaves it to you how to deal with them.

His protagonists come from the world of advertising, porn, comics, games, showbiz etc.

A world which seems to have replaced the ‘real’ world.

The title of his show implicitly asks you the question, is it pure decadence to enjoy his works and what are you really enjoying then?

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Peter Feiler and Hoorn & Reniers, Den Haag

 

Bertus Pieters

Turn Back Time; Galerie Maurits van de Laar, The Hague

Olphaert den Otter

Notoriously, composer Karlheinz Stockhausen said about the 9/11 Attacks: Well, what happened there is, of course (….) the biggest work of art there has ever been.

Marjolijn van der Meij

By that time – it was a few days after the traumatising acts of terror – this caused controversy.

Tobias Lengkeek

Martin Gabriel

On the other hand the English are their cruel king Henry VIII still grateful for turning their gothic abbeys into romantic ruins.

Olphaert den Otter

Marjolijn van der Meij

Destruction can be horrible and may be cruel, but undeniably it also produces visions of transformation, and that has its own aesthetics.

Tobias Lengkeek

Martin Gabriel

Works by four artists who occupy themselves in one way or another with change and the passing of time are presently on show at Maurits van de Laar Gallery.

Olphaert den Otter

Marjolijn van der Meij

Olphaert den Otter (1955) shows places of destruction in his series World Stress Paintings.

Tobias Lengkeek

Martin Gabriel

The delicateness and smallness of his tempera paintings form a stark contrast to the manmade catastrophes he actually shows.

Olphaert den Otter

Marjolijn van der Meij

Marjolijn van der Meij (1970) deforms her works by crumpling them and reworking them.

Tobias Lengkeek

Martin Gabriel

Again, the cruelty of the act becomes a base for an extremely delicate way of sculpture that catches light and dark and gives new content to what is actually shown.

Olphaert den Otter

Marjolijn van der Meij

Tobias Lengkeek (1991) is looking for the aesthetics of what you may call slow destruction, the decay you may meet with at any moment of the day in any place around you.

Tobias Lengkeek

Martin Gabriel

These moments and places and the transition they represent are the base for his very painterly paintings.

Olphaert den Otter

Marjolijn van der Meij

The slow but momentous visions of destruction inspire his aesthetics, even to the point where you can see the destruction in the paintings themselves.

Tobias Lengkeek

Martin Gabriel

Martin Gabriel (1991) is probably the least destructive in his works.

Olphaert den Otter

Marjolijn van der Meij

He combines painting, collage and the language of computer games in his works.

Tobias Lengkeek

Martin Gabriel

He digitises and de-digitises, dragging the venerable art of painting into the digital maelstrom of the contemporary and redefining real and digital time and space.

Olphaert den Otter

Marjolijn van der Meij

All four artists are trying to find a way of living with sometimes horrific, sometimes sneaking changes in our lives and to redefine aesthetics in the process.

Tobias Lengkeek

It makes for an interesting and fine show in which works by two ‘older’ artists are confronted with those of a younger generation.

Martin Gabriel

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to the artists and Galerie Maurits van de Laar, Den Haag

 

Bertus Pieters

Maaike Schoorel, London | Rome | New York | Amsterdam; GEM, The Hague

As it happened, i entered GEM to see Maaike Schoorel’s (1973) show together with a couple.

The man walked around for a few seconds, came back to his lady and said it’s all empty spaces, there’s really nothing to be seen in these paintings.

The lady smiled at me understandingly and said well, somebody has to paint that too and they left the exhibition.

Maybe painting just wasn’t the couple’s cup of tea.

On the other hand it also shows what is going on in Schoorel’s paintings.

She makes abstractions of common themes like interiors, still lifes, portraits etc, usually based on photographs.

Her ways of abstraction are purely intuitive.

She minimalises the information, but not in a minimalist way.

Whether you recognise the picture or not isn’t really important.

In a way they all look like moments of just awakening, the moment you start looking, but still not realising what you really see.

Or they are like loud music heard from far.

When making pictures of these paintings i realised that photographs won’t give you any idea of them.

That is my regular conclusion, but with Schoorel’s work this is all the more true.

I am a great admirer of these works, but Schoorel’s way of painting may also become a kind of mannerism.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Maaike Schoorel and GEM, Den Haag

 

Bertus Pieters

Façades of The Hague #57

Den Haag Centraal (The Hague Central Station) seems to be one of the least loved of The Hague’s modern buildings.

Designed by Koen van der Gaast (1923 – 1993) – responsible for many post-WWII railway stations – and built in 1970-1976 to replace an older station and as part of the re-planning and modernisation of the city centre, it seems to have lost its once modernist appeal.

It was brutally stripped of its shelter roof over its main entrance under its concrete façade and moreover, some new postmodern high rise buildings will be placed in the square in front of its mighty gable.

Breaking it down was probably not possible, so other measures were taken to punish it for its radical brutalist appearance.

It is already crowned with rubbish as if it is just a huge outlet store.

Whatever the qualities of the new buildings in the square (and i have my doubts about that), its present and future position can only be explained to a foreigner while blushing with shame.

Not particularly having been a fan of the building, but making pictures of it last March, i came to value its crude modern shape.

Den Haag Centraal is a terminus and it really looks like a buffer stop.

Its eleven horizontal stories look out over the square and the greens of Koekamp (a deer camp) and Malieveld (a historic field, traditionally used for fairs and demonstrations) and its more or less identical back façade looks out over the railways.

Its monumental sculptural qualities, brutalist and functional though they are, are quite impressive.

It has lost its function as a symbolic buffer stop as with recent renovations it has got more main entrances on other sides.

Last decades the façade has become a brooding brownish building, a muttering old lady, ignored by everyone.

The station hall has recently been revamped as a roofed market square by Benthem and Crouwel architects, as railway stations have to earn money these days, don’t ask me why.

They didn’t do a bad job at all but it makes the 1970s building all the more obsolete.

Its height and monumentality have no symbolic function anymore.

The new hall is a kind of big glass box which gives more light and elegance to the concrete environment.

However the environment itself doesn’t really co-operate.

The south Rijnstraat side of the building is a kind of windy and grey public space full of transport, constantly under construction and completely lost for humanity.

The bus platform on the east side will be restored soon, which is the least they can do.

The whole area looks like a failed exquisite corpse, a limbo before your journey.

Anything additional will make it worse.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

All pictures were taken in March 2017

 

Bertus Pieters